Though the green-and-white awning is no longer there and a fancy cappuccino maker has replaced the old percolator, the Henri’s Bakery of today is still very much like the Henri’s of my childhood. The usual suspects—mothers with children, girls in sorority T-shirts, matrons with stiff hairdos, snowy-haired men in rumpled khakis—all wait in line to order sandwiches served on housemade bread, spread thick
with mayonnaise and embellished with thin pickle strips.
My order also hasn’t changed since childhood (turkey with extra pickles), only now I ask for it on rye instead of white. Adjacent to the deli counter, a bakery display case tempts with chocolate chip cookies, petits fours, éclairs, and more. When my mom would take me to Henri’s as a kid, a lady behind the bakery case would always give me a free thumbprint shortbread cookie, its center decorated with a small circle of pastel icing. The bakery ladies still hand out cookies to children in what is surely a Pavlovian strategy for ensuring customer loyalty. Case in point: It is impossible for me to eat an Henri’s sandwich and not finish with something sweet.
This article originally appeared in our April 2013 issue.